MILAREPA’S SONG TO THE GIRL PALDARBUM

In INSIGHTS by Erik Pema Kunsang22 Comments

Milarepa said to the girl Paltarbum, “If you sincerely wish to practice the Dharma, in my tradition you don’t need to change your name. Since one can awaken to buddhahood as either a monk or layperson, you don’t need to shave your hair off or change your dress.” Then he sang this song on meditation guidance in training the mind with four meaningful analogies.

Listen here, you lay girl Paldarbum,
Listen well, you rich and dedicated maiden.

Take this sky as your example,
And train in the meditation state without center or edge.

Take the sun an moon as your example,
And train in the meditation state without increase or decrease.

Take this mountain as your example,
And train in the meditation state without shifting or change.

Take the great ocean as your example,
And train in the meditation state without surface or base.

Take your own mind as the meaning,
And train in the meditation state without worry or doubt.

Teaching her the key points of posture and mind, he set her to practice meditation. The girl had some fine experience and understanding. In order to clear up her uncertainty and hindrances, she sang these questions.

Please listen, precious Jetsün,
Please hear me, sublime nirmanakaya.

It was easy to meditate like the sky,
But I felt uneasy when training with clouds.
Now please give me advice on training with clouds.

It was easy to meditate like the sun and moon,
But I felt uneasy when training with planets and stars.
Now please give me advice on training with planets and stars.

It was easy to meditate like the mountain,
But I felt uneasy when training with bushes and trees.
Now please give me advice on training with bushes and trees.

It was easy to meditate like the ocean,
But I felt uneasy when training with waves.
Now please give me advice on training with waves.

It was easy to meditate with my mind,
But I felt uneasy when training with thoughts.
Now please give me advice on training with thoughts.

The Jetsün thought, She has gained the meditation experience, and he was very pleased. In reply to her request, he then sang this song of clearing hindrances and bringing forth enhancement.

Listen here, you lay girl Paldarbum,
Listen well, you rich and dedicated maiden.

Since it was easy to meditate like the sky,
The clouds are the sky’s magical display,
So let them be as the very state of the sky.

Since it was easy to meditate like the sun and moon,
The planets and stars are the sun and moon’s magical display,
So let them be as the very state of the sun and moon.

Since it was easy to meditate like the mountain,
The bushes and trees are the mountain’s magical display,
So let them be as the very state of the mountain.

Since it was easy to meditate like the ocean,
The waves are the ocean’s magical display,
So let them be as the very state of the ocean.

Since it was easy to meditate with your mind,
The thoughts are the mind’s magical display,
So let them be as the very state of your mind.

She practiced accordingly and established certainty in the unconditioned nature, the basic state of her mind. Much later, she passed on to the celestial realms in her own body and accompanied by melodious sounds.

About the Author
Erik Pema Kunsang

Erik Pema Kunsang

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Translator of ancient Buddhist scriptures, author, bridge-builder to modern life, Buddhist teacher & meditation instructor. Board of director at 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Founder of Rangjung Yeshe Publications and LEVEKUNST art of life. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author. Erik's website & retreats.

Extracted from the Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Song to Paldarbum. Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang.

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Comments

  1. Woow .. simple and profound as well . true nature of the mind and the projection of the mind ; what ever arises within , just let go and let it be . Namo milarepa . May boddhichita take a deep root in the hearts and mind of all sentient beings .. 🙏🙏🙏

  2. Pingback: HE Garchen Rinpoche – Jan 7, 2007 – Tibetan Meditation Center, Frederick, MD A Song of Milarepa: The story of Yogini Nyama Paldarbum | Randrol's Ramblings

  3. Milarepa’s massage can be summerised in one sentence – “One has to simply realise/recognise that everything in the universe is in the state of meditation as there is no other way to be”

  4. Very nice, concise teaching. Inspiring. I would prefer ‘illusion-like” or “illusionary” to “magical”. The magician creates the illusion of an elephant, etc. The illusion is the point. “Magic” has some irrelevant associations in English.

    1. Erik Pema Kunsang Author

      Dear Mark. Yes, in many contexts illusion-like, illusory or illusionary would work. I feel that illusion is more passive and magical more active. Since natural scenery is used as metaphor for the play of the mind, I chose magical. The meaning is the same: something appears to be separate, but is in fact not.

      As an aside, in Tibetan three words are sometimes synonyms, sometimes they have different meaning: chotrul, dzutrul and gyutrul. Here Milarepa uses chotrul.

  5. He only has one instruction for dealing with difficulties meditating: ‘magical display’. That isn’t very useful or inspiring.
    The ‘oh I just wet my pants being inspired’ politically correct compulsion, when it isn’t actually very inspiring – it is a big weakness of Tibetan Buddhism. (imho)

  6. Yes, Mike there is an error:

    Since it was easy to meditate like the ocean,
    The clouds are the ocean’s magical display,
    So let them be as the very state of the ocean.

    Should be waves not clouds.

    Erik, would you please fix?
    Thanks.

  7. Very beautiful teaching. As Mike pointed out there are a few confusing mistakes such as the clouds being used in the ocean example and a few missing words. Any way to clean it up? Otherwise very much rejoicing for this post.

    Binney Clark has a nice duet arrangement of excerpts of these songs as taught by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche at this link:

    http://www.winfieldclark.com/paldarbom.html

  8. mike dickman

    (…)
    The clouds are the ocean’s magical display,
    (…)

    shouldn’t this be ‘waves’?

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